Police say a 7,600-square-foot Michigan warehouse served as the business hub for a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar theft ring that stole items from retailers and resold them on the Internet, reports the Detroit Free Press. Veteran investigators said the shoplifting ring, which swiped as much as $15,000 a day in over-the-counter drugs and other goods from area stores, is the largest they have ever seen. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard called the illegal business “amazing in size and scope” and one that likely operated for years before drug investigators spotted it last month. The ring operators stored stolen items in the warehouse and sold them on the Internet through eBay, Amazon.com and other sites.
Three women served as the shoplifters, stealing high-value items like cold medicine, antacids and other over-the-counter drugs from local CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. They were given shopping lists of which items to target, Bouchard said. Using specially modified clothes to conceal their haul, they could steal between $9,000 and $15,000 each day, deliver it to the warehouse and be paid $2,500 a day in cash for their efforts. Inside the warehouse, investigators found $75,000 in cash, about $30,000 in merchandise from CVS and Walgreens, $10,000 in items stolen from other stores and more than $3 million in perfumes, lotions and creams stolen from Victoria's Secret in Las Vegas. Five people were arrested. Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins, whose department is part of the narcotics team, said he was stunned when he saw what was in the warehouse. “It was clean and tidy and well-run,” he said.